The Sound of Science: Paul Hanson Mixes Music and Limnology

Below is an excellent article from on CFL research professor, Paul Hanson, and the music he hears (and makes) in science. By Allison Geyer.


Data collected from sensors on a buoy in Lake Mendota map the ebb and flow of the algal blooms that each year turn the lake green with phytoplankton. A look at the patterns created over time shows a confluence of interconnected cycles driven by season, temperature, sunrise and sunset.

To most people, that sounds like science. A lyrical description perhaps, but well within the realm of what is observable, measurable and repeatable — the necessary conditions for a scientific experiment. But to UW-Madison researcher Paul Hanson, the data — and the forces of nature behind them — have the power to transcend his empirically driven discipline.
Hanson, a distinguished professor of research with the university’s Center for Limnology, is also a musician and a composer. For the past several years he’s been collaborating with local musician Chris Wagoner and others to write and record songs inspired by both science and nature.
“There are three Cs that connect music and science,” Hanson says. “Creativity, communication and collaboration.” – Read the full article at